Sports mascots provide afternoon of smiles for patients at Florida Hospital for Children

Published: 
June 22, 2017

Mascots representing teams from across the country brought smiles and laughs to patients at Florida Hospital for Children during a visit to kick off the 24th Annual Mascot Games Presented by Wawa.

Carlton of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Shades of the Orlando Solar Bears, Louie of the St. Louis Blues and Thunderbug of the Tampa Bay Lightning played games, including Cornhole and Giant Jenga, with kids of all ages to provide a break from the hospital room.

“It’s very important to have these community groups come to the Children’s hospital to bring smiles and laughter to our little ones,” said Meagan Krizek, volunteer manager and special events coordinator at Florida Hospital for Children. “Most of our patients don’t realize that they’re still a child regardless of what’s happening to them in the hospital, and events like these help bring them joy and childhood wonder.”

The Mascot Games Presented by Wawa is a family-friendly annual event hosted at the Amway Center featuring characters from over two dozen teams in MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and NCAA. Mascots compete in wild and wacky games in front of more than 18,000 fans.

“Our mascots always feel a very special sense of joy when they are able to bring happiness to kids in the midst of difficult situations,” said Jeff Melinat, field operations manager of the Mascot Games. “It’s one of the reasons they do what they do.”

All proceeds of the Mascot Games Presented by Wawa benefit New Hope for Kids. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $300,000 for the organization. 

For media inquiries only, call Florida Hospital Corporate Communications at 407-303-8217.

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